My most recent content gathering mission took me on a blast to the past journey to Arizona during the peak of the hot season. The average day time temperature was 105 to 107 degrees and I had to lug my camera, lenses and audio gear everywhere since it was too hot to leave it all in the car.
The Return of the King
Craig Connelly who I will refer to as the King of Billiards was at one time one of the largest manufacturers and retailer of pool tables and game room furnishings in North America. To date he’s sold over 100,000 pool tables across the globe and 50,000 just in the state of Arizona. Today he’s a humble sole proprietor with a single retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona called Craig Billiards.
As I gathered content for Craig it brought back memories of the 12 plus years I lived in the same world as the king, although on a peasant level. From 1990 through the fall of 2001 I lived in the land of the game room. Our business was mostly in the Puget Sound region of Washington and Alaska but actually spanned the globe for several years.
During that time I had met with hundreds of customers at the showroom and in their homes. In the later years I took pictures with a Polaroid camera, Instamatics (old 110 film) and even one of the first Sony digital cameras that utilized a 3.5” floppy disc! I once even had a Pentax K1000 for many years, but back in 1995 it accidentally got left in the trunk of a car overnight suffering a terrible frostbite.
This current content gathering mission in Arizona had me interviewing both retail customers and designers that work with Craig. My primary content gathering tool was a Sony NX Cam camera, along with a Sony shotgun mic, Sennheiser lavalier, and my trusty iPhone.
All of Craig’s customers were really nice to work with and kind enough to take the time out of their days to meet with me.It was like a time warp back to another time. Fifteen years had passed since my last dealing with billiards and game room products. The industry had been decimated due to imports. And more than a hand full of factories had closed or taken serious financial hits. You could say that our exit was timely in late 2001, and I’m very grateful we departed when we did.
Video was an expensive proposition in the 90s and early 2000s. The quality was standard definition at best. Yet during this latest content gathering mission here I was capturing 1080p HD footage with gear that would have cost a small fortune back in the day. The one great thing about the Sony camera I used on this adventure was the simple fact that the camera has great audio capture abilities.
As it turned out on the last interview I did the customer decided he didn’t want to be captured on video, but was open to audio only and a couple of photo stills.
So all in all this content gathering mission in the land of the sun for the billiard king was a success and there is more to come, so stay tuned.